By Shawn Ness | September 27,2021
A petition with nearly fifty signatures has been circling Paine Hall demanding renovations to the building. The petition calls for everything from reopening the Colonial Quad dining hall to simple trash pick-ups by custodians.
The petition was written by freshman Paine Hall resident Kenneth Sun. Sun drafted the petition after the water was cut off to his building, which he said was the final straw. Sun originally posted the petition in GroupMe for his hall. From there, he said someone must have taken the petition and posted it around Paine.
“We demand a better living situation,” wrote Sun in the petition. The petition alleges poor dorm sanitation by the custodial staff and condemned the lack of a dining hall on the quad.
“All the students here get charged the same base housing,” Sun wrote, “yet the quality of our rooms are drastically inferior to those at State and Indigenous, and Dutch Quad.” Sun mentioned that there is no air conditioning, only lamps, popcorn ceiling, poor quality wallpaper, damage to desks and chairs, rusty doorknobs, and bathroom and shower doors that do not lock.
Paine resident Andrew Graziano, who signed the petition, claims that he has now been locked out of his room on two separate occasions after the door broke. Unable to get in contact with the quad office on a Saturday, a suitemate of his was forced to fix it. He also claimed the water pipe broke at least two times, leaving him without water for the better part of five hours.
There were also signs placed in the basement for an asbestos advisory, as well as lightbulbs hanging from sockets inside showers and shower rods falling out of the walls.
In response to students’ claims of needed repairs, university spokesman Jordan Carleo-Evangelist said that upon arrival, students are supposed to report maintenance issues to Res Life. Carleo-Evangelist says this step is critical to ensure repairs or “otherwise remedied as soon as possible.”
“Ironically enough, the dining hall is just sitting down there with random garbage and with the A/C on.” There are also no water fountains anywhere in the building, leaving students like freshman Paine resident Mateo Childs to go and buy bottled water. “That’s what I have the biggest issue with.”
Central to Sun’s criticism of the school is that the Colonial Quad has “yet to receive a renovation,” adding that it is disgraceful that the university put construction of the ETEC building—which cost $180 million—over the renovation of Colonial.
Only four out of thirty-six of the university’s residential buildings have had air conditioning installations, one of them being Herkimer which is on Colonial Quad, added in 2017 in a $9 million renovation, according to Carleo-Evangelist.
Paine and Zenger Halls are both up for a $43 million renovation in May, according to Carleo-Evangelist. This renovation would provide air conditioning to both halls, a new wellness center, and a space for Campus Recreation in what used to be the dining hall. Delancy, Clinton, and Morris hall will be receiving a ceiling upgrade.
Students who live on Colonial are also upset with the distance they have to walk for food, with the only available dining options being the State and Indigenous Quad dining halls and the Campus Center.
According to Carleo-Evangelist, the Colonial Quad dining hall was closed in 2018 after its usage declined by upwards of 70% after the opening of new restaurants in the Campus Center.
“[There is no] dining hall which actually makes it really hard to motivate to get food,” said Childs.
“We feel that it is unfair that we must walk a ¼ mile to access a dining hall when there is one abandoned right in our quad,” said the petition.
The petition also alleges that custodians do not change bathroom trash bags and that they “merely dump the garbage into another bag and force us to reuse the same bag.” The petition also mentions that the cleaning of toilets, sinks, showers is “disgraceful.”
“The university is committed to ensuring the quality and cleanliness of all our Residence Halls,” says Carleo-Evangelist. “As with any buildings, however, systems sometimes break down and require repairs.”